Sherdog’s Top 10: MMA Rivalries

No. 8

By Tristen Critchfield Mar 15, 2012

8. Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz

The Rundown: The hatred between these two men became so intense that the UFC decided to capitalize by making a DVD about the saga. Liddell and Ortiz started out as friends and trained together at The Pit in California. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” experienced success earlier in his career than Liddell, capturing the UFC light heavyweight title in 2000.

The “Iceman” eventually put together a resume that made him the No. 1 contender, but Ortiz took advantage of their friendship, claiming the two men had vowed to never fight one another. A seething Liddell waited as Ortiz sat out so long that the UFC created an interim title in his absence. Liddell lost the interim title fight to Randy Couture, and it was only then that Ortiz returned to attempt to unify the belts. After Ortiz lost to “The Natural,” the long-delayed showdown between the former friends was finally set for UFC 47. According to Ortiz, it took so long to happen because he was not happy with the money being offered. That stance illustrated a significant difference between the two men. Ortiz was a trash-talking, self-promotion machine, while Liddell seemed to be more of an everyman who simply enjoyed a good fight.

The bout itself was not that competitive, as Liddell convincingly won by technical knockout. Ortiz would angle for a rematch and finally got it at UFC 66. Still at the peak of his powers, Liddell’s sprawl-and-brawl style was again too much for Ortiz to overcome, but the contest did become the first UFC pay-per-view to garner more than one million buys.

A third fight between the two was supposed to occur following coaching stints on Season 11 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” but Ortiz pulled out due to injury. Although Liddell has been retired for more than a year now, Ortiz has hinted that he would like to face his longtime adversary in the final bout of his own career. It seems like a long shot, but if Liddell were to step in the cage one final time, it would have to be against Ortiz.

Continue Reading » Chuck Liddell-Randy Couture


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